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Mkhize: My top priority is to restore hope in SA's healthcare system

Minister Zweli Mkhize visited the Mamelodi Hospital on Thursday afternoon, a week after an elderly woman was mistreated by staff members.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at Mamelodi Hospital on 6 June 2019. Picture:  @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

MAMELODI - Newly appointed Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said one of his top priorities would be working to restore hope in South Africa’s healthcare system.

Mkhize visited the Mamelodi Hospital on Thursday afternoon, a week after an elderly woman was mistreated by staff members.

A video of 76-year-old Martha Marais tied to a steel bench while lying on the floor at the facility sparked outrage and prompted an investigation.

Four staff members (including two doctors, a nurse and a security guard) have since been placed on special leave.

Mkhize said he was worried about the reputation of some public hospitals in the country, including Mamelodi Hospital.

“I don’t want to hear a term that says this is a notorious hospital; this is a hospital that is meant to be a source of pride for the people in the area.”

Mkhize said one of his priorities as he stepped into his new role as health minister was to deal with poor service and staff morale.

“So that the culture of compassionate care is actually a norm so that we can reduce all the complaints that we have been receiving.”

He said his department would redirect some of its budget to urgently address various problems at hospitals including shortages of staff and medication and infrastructure upgrades.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)